The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
Inspirational events abounded this winter. In January there was the Women’s March that spilled over into Charlottetown; in February we walked in support of our Island Muslim neighbors and friends; and in March the International Women’s Day festival saw some of us attempting our very first belly dance. All of these group events gave us badly-needed energy and hope.
I also had a private encouraging moment. I was standing outside considering my options (walk/snowshoe/go back inside) when two strangers and a little dog strolled up our lane. The woman handed me a freshly baked pumpkin loaf, with a card that read: “Thank you for your articles in The Buzz.” Wow. You’re welcome! It turns out that these people, Debbie and Dana Jeffrey, live in the next community and we often pass their house and admire their canoes all stacked up and ready to go; and so our conversation led to canoeing, and the fact that last summer they canoed from Canoe Cove to Georgian Bay—that’s right, Georgian Bay, Ontario. They did this not for glory or for any cause, but for “personal growth and happiness.” Naturally we had to invite these local heroes over for supper and learn more.
What was your biggest challenge? “Currents, tides, waves. Heat, humidity. Mosquitoes! Blisters. Mood. Every day was a test. We’d think: what will we encounter today? Then when something difficult happened we’d say hopefully, maybe that was it.”
Any examples? “There was a tornado…we had food poisoning…and canoeing up the Matapedia River during spring flood was almost impossible. We were poling, dragging ourselves along by branches on shore, we finally had to portage…then the wheel of our canoe cart broke just as we caught sight of the St. Lawrence. But the people of rural Québec are wonderful, everyone was so helpful and interested.”
Discouraging moments? “Canoeing along the New Brunswick coast and seeing all the garbage on shore—fishing debris mostly, broken traps, plastic jugs, ropes—it went on and on. Unbelievable.”
Best memory? “Landing on a tiny island in the St. Lawrence, thinking we were alone—when along came the owner. We expected to be booted off but instead we were invited for supper! The St. Lawrence was challenging though, because it’s surprisingly narrow in places and there’s a lot of shipping traffic. Also, retaining walls along the shore make it tricky to find places to land and set up camp. But we had wonderful times. Deer came up to our tent. Bullfrogs were in full chorus. We saw tons of birds. Beautiful…”
And so this spring these adventurous souls intend to pick up where they left off—including a section at St-Zotique, Québec where Dana was sidelined by touching wild parsnip (that’s another story)—with the goal of arriving at the West Coast next summer. On behalf of all of us who stay behind: Bon voyage! Thanks for showing us how life can be lived.
And thanks again for the pumpkin loaf. It was delicious.